Over the past 20 years, Majid Al Futtaim has grown from a single property to one of the most prolific portfolios of retail, leisure and entertainment destinations across the Middle East and North Africa. Its rapid expansion across the MENA region is part of the company’s strategic direction to double the size of the business in the next five years, providing a powerful network of malls for local, regional and international brands to access millions of potential customers in one of the fastest growing retail areas in the world. As a long-term investor in Lebanon and all other markets it operates in, Majid Al Futtaim supports economic development, job creation, promotion of tourism, improvements to infrastructure and social development in the communities around its properties. Corporate responsibility is at the foundation of the company’s business objectives and is an essential requirement at its properties at City Centre Beirut and Waterfront City in Lebanon.
In August, Majid Al Futtaim announced the results of its Sustainability Report, highlighting that 73% of its sustainability goals were achieved during 2014, further embedding sustainability into its business strategy. The report evaluates the company’s sustainability achievements and challenges, and charts progress made against long-term (2018) targets set out in its sustainability strategy.
Sustainability is one of Majid Al Futtaim’s key objectives. It supports long-term value creation, enhances the brand and, most importantly, gives the company the licence to operate as an organisation that focuses not only on profitability, but on making a positive social impact.In applying international best practices, Majid Al Futtaim enhances people’s lives through sustainable real estate with the belief that this approach will set an inspiring example across the region.
At the heart of its vision is the development of inclusive communities that promote well-being and engagement, as well as local economic development. The company is determined to provide positive socio-economic benefits for the communities in which it operates, as well as its 27,000 employees. The annual sustainability report measures these ambitious goals and helps in the vision to implement sustainability in every aspect of Majid Al Futtaim’s business.
Setting a Benchmark
During 2014, it continued to set the benchmark for sustainable development in the region, successfully implementing a labor policy for its construction workers, which sets out commitments to safeguard worker rights across Majid Al Futtaim developments, including timely pay, annual leave and labor accommodation. Majid Al Futtaim’s construction sites were fatality free during 2014, while overall accident frequency rates among direct employees and contractors dropped by 77% in the UAE and Oman and 31% in the Levant and North Africa.
A first of its kind in the MENA region, Majid Al Futtaim’s ‘Green Star’ rating system sets sustainability design criteria for shop fit-outs and is now also a mandatory requirement of all lease renewals. Based on LEED, BREEAM and ESTIDAMA standards, the rating measures sustainability performance, from energy reduction to the quality of a tenant’s sustainability policies. In 2014, 13 tenants achieved a Green Star rating, with 4 achieving the top five-star rating.
Majid Al Futtaim has also increased green building certifications to 7 buildings, reduced water consumption at its malls by 16%, and launched a program to ensure that all future developments are LEED Gold certified or equivalent.
Leading by example, Majid Al Futtaim’s head office in Dubai became the first building in the UAE to be awarded with the LEED EBOM (Existing Buildings Operation and Maintenance) Gold standard by the US Green Building Council. In doing so, LEED water consumption targets were surpassed by 26%, while energy improvements were 18% above targets and changes to the recycling process helped exceed LEED expectations, with a recycling rate of 69%.
It also achieved the highest ‘Green Star’ status with the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB), which compares 637 real estate companies globally on a range of measures from energy reduction performance to the quality of their sustainability policies.
To demonstrate the continuation of the high standards it achieved during 2014, Majid Al Futtaim has already recorded a major sustainability achievement in 2015 with City Centre Mirdif, the 3 million square foot integrated mall, setting a global benchmark by becoming the largest mall in the world to achieve LEED Gold EBOM accreditation.
As well as community investment totalling AED7.3 million ($2 million) in 2014, Majid Al Futtaim employees committed 2,561 hours to volunteering based on a program which encourages employees to take one paid day off work to help in areas such as working with children, supporting homeless people and helping with environmental projects. The company supports the participation of employees in a number of events designed to provide entertainment, healthy activity and team-focused engagement, including the Beirut Corporate Games. 181 employees also received sustainability training in 2014 in Lebanon, Bahrain, Egypt, Oman, and UAE.
As part of a range of ambitious goals set for 2015, the company has committed to including labor standard policy requirements into all contracts with direct suppliers, perform a study to understand the socio economic benefits of one development, and achieve a 25% recycling rate (tonnes) across all operational malls.